zzFor what it’s worth, I’d thought I’d write this. This post goes out to what I would call overenthusiastic freshmen. The madness of the semester has fallen onto you and you want to do everything. You see potential in yourself and so much ‘sparkling’ promise in every club’s booth you walked past during the Student Life Fair (of course this is an exaggeration) but you get me.
When it all comes down, you realise you have signed up for 5 clubs and God knows how many other events. What a treat. ‘Chill’ clearly is not in your dictionary and you’re on the cusp of doing just about everything you ever wanted to do.
Here are some thoughts in that light. Take this from me, I did more than 10 events in Semester 2 of freshman year, joined 3-4 clubs/committees, played sports, did fitness training… (and studied!)
Don’t short change yourself. Firstly it’s freshman year, you have a gradeless free year! Also, you should try everything and anything and get exposed to different kinds of interest groups, sports or committees. Consider your stamina and capacities but also never forget that university is a great place to push your boundaries and your supposed limits. People will often tell you that you’re crazy and too hardcore. Never sell yourself short just because people impose their limits on you. My advice? Just do it. Tell yourself that you’ll never learn unless challenged out of your comfort zone, then go the distance.
- Sleep. NO ONE in university actually sleeps properly or enough. Doing everything can be fun and satisfying, but without sleep you will not just burn out way faster than you ever thought, you would also be unable to enjoy everything to the maximum. Given that you’re doing a good number of things, less sleep is perhaps one of your options, but be sure to pay your sleep debt or it will accumulate over time and kill your body slowly.
- Have goals. Join clubs, interest groups or sports with those goals in mind. Join things with the intention to pick up a skill and/or gain something, like marketing, or publicity, or leadership of whatever sort you want to. If you join something for the fun of it, that’s okay but there is more potential for you to fulfill when you already tell yourself your purpose and goal in joining that particular thing.
- This is linked to 3 – join a diverse range of things. University is the last time you get to enjoy yourself before work comes and devours you. Personally, to date, I have joined a cultural club, a sports/outdoors interest group, an academic society and participated in external projects with another academic society. All these teach me very different skills in various positions with different people and their club’s respective aims, missions and visions. You will gain varied experiences and soft skills which will help you in the working world. Not everyone in the working world only looks for paper qualifications. In fact, many employers look for people who adapt well, learn well on the job, and have good interpersonal skills. However, if you believe that you should join one and stick to it all the way, do go ahead and do whatever makes truly you happy.
- Know your capacity. You might be a hardcore person, but we all have a limit, and the faster we know that limit, the better it is for us so that we can push ourselves while maintaining our sanity and health. Even though pushing beyond the limit is good, but it must be contained and you know yourself best. You have 4 years. You can find things you’re interested in, but you don’t have to do everything at the same time in the same semester. Push back some stuff because you can always come back for it later.
- Don’t forget you’re a student. Prioritize what you need to do, and when you need to. Play hard, but study hard too. Don’t procrastinate. Not only will a lot of things fall into place, you will find yourself having more time to do more things. If you want to do many things, spread out your work, and start your final essay or project as early as possible, NOT during week 13. Start in week 8 if you can. The faster you finish studying, the more you can play or do other things.
- Plan – please, please, plan. It is better to not rush around school. Planning is key. It helps with number 6 too, especially when the event is nearing and you’re barely studying, and you don’t actually remember your assignment is due the next day.
All in all, the learning curve for you as a freshman will be steep and experiences will be great if you make it so. Your university life is what you want it to be. So start this journey right, and for those who did not start on the ‘perfect’ note, it is never too late to try again. Mistakes will be an essential part of the journey, so go ride the rollercoaster of fun!